Explore the Area
Chapel Hill sits on a gentle hill, shaded by ancient oak and poplar trees. It is home to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, our nation’s first state university. Chapel Hill has a variety of cultural attractions, great dining and a lively downtown. Chapel Hill has been referred to as ‘the Southern Part of Heaven,’ after the title of a William Meade Prince book published in 1950.
In addition to the prominence of the nation’s first state university, another attractive feature of downtown Chapel Hill is Franklin Street, named after Benjamin Franklin. This is one of the most vibrant downtowns in the state. Day and night, the streets are filled with people enjoying the great variety of shopping, dining and entertainment options. Check out the Chapel Hill and Orange County Visitors Bureau here!
UNC’s Arboretum is a beautiful spot on campus to relax on a sunny day. The paths of this trail are surrounded by several different types of plant species that will take your breath away and is centrally located on UNC’s Campus. The Arboretum has many areas that would be perfect for an afternoon picnic or an active day of play. The Arboretum is open from dawn to dusk every day of the year!
North Carolina Botanical Garden
Visit the North Carolina Botanical Gardens for a fun and free natural retreat into wildlife. Their guiding mission is to inspire understanding, appreciation, and conservation of plants in gardens and natural areas and to advance a sustainable relationship between people and nature. The garden is open from 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Sundays, 8:00am to 5:00pm on Weekdays, and 9:00am to 5:00pm on Saturdays. Stop by to take a guided tour of the garden or casually stroll through the paths at your own pace!
FRANK Gallery is an amazing compilation of local artists and talent. The art gallery is located on Franklin Street and is one of the staple items of Chapel Hill’s downtown scene. Make sure to check www.frankisart.com before you go in order to take advantage of the many new exhibits, events, programs, and educational outreach opportunities every week. FRANK is open Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 5:00pm, Fridays from noon to 8:00pm, Saturdays from 10:00am to 5:00pm, and Sundays from 1:00pm to 5:00pm.
Stars, space, and more! The Morehead Planetarium is the perfect place to explore if you’re looking for an educational activity that will take you to another world. Stop by the planetarium’s dome to watch a breathtaking astronomy show. The celestial objects projected onto the walls of the dome will make you feel that you are actually laying under the stars. Morehead Planetarium is open from 10:00am to 3:30pm Tuesday through Saturday, 1:00pm to 4:30pm on Sundays, and it is closed on Mondays. Book your show today!
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
The campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is one of the best campuses in the country. Spend your day walking around the campus and discovering the unique architecture that is scattered throughout the campus. Make your way into classic campus hot spots like Wilson Library and the Quad, while also taking a second to stroll through “the Pit” in the center of campus. Then before you leave, make sure to take an iconic picture at UNC’s emblem, the Old Well.
If the weather is great and you love animals, the 1870’s farm is the place for you. The farm is located minutes from UNC Campus and is the ultimate family farm for a day of outdoor fun. Find yourself engaging with different activities on the farm like fishing, mining, and even chicken racing. Make sure to visit the petting zoo too and get your daily dose of cute animals!
Carolina Basketball Museum
Basketball is a sport that goes hand in hand with the University of North Carolina. For that reason, the university created the Carolina Basketball Museum. The museum is a free and interactive exhibit that consists of over 500 pieces of basketball history. There are photographs, videos, and signatures of many iconic players, coaches, and championship moments. The basketball museum is open from 10:00am to 4:00pm Monday through Friday, 9:00am to 1:00pm on Saturdays, and closed on Sundays. If you are a basketball fan and especially a Tarheel fan, this museum is the place for you.
Ackland Art Museum
Visit the Ackland Art Museum on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The museums collection of rare art pieces has a variety of origins ranging from Asia and Africa to Europe and America. With the diverse selection of works, the museum is entertaining for all ages. The Ackland Art Museum is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm Wednesday through Saturday, 1:00pm to 5:00pm on Sundays, and closed on Mondays. If you’re looking for an enriching arts based activity that is fun for the whole family, Ackland is the place to be!
Downtown Chapel Hill continues to grow every year and it remains the place to be in Chapel Hill. If you have a free afternoon, take a stroll down Franklin street and check out all that downtown Chapel Hill has to offer. There are several popular restaurants such as Top Of The Hill and Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe and many shops to explore. Franklin Street is fun no matter what time of day, so make sure you check it out!
If you’re looking for landmark places to visit in Chapel Hill, the Varsity Theatre should be high on your list. This iconic movie theatre has been the center of Franklin Street since it was opened in 1927. The movie theatre is still in business and stays up to date with all of the new movies. If you have a few hours to sit back and relax, catch a movie at the Varsity on Franklin Street! Check out their website www.varsityonfranklin.com for updates on what movies are playing!